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Transposable elements (TEs) are DNA sequences that can move from one location in the genome to another. They are also known as “jumping genes,”
TEs can cause genetic variation and are found in the genomes of most organisms, from bacteria to plants and animals.
TEs are classified into two major categories:
They move via an RNA intermediate.
These move by excision and reinsertion.
When TEs move, they can disrupt functional genes or regulatory elements, and this can have significant effects on the phenotype of the organism.
For example, a transposon may insert into a coding region of a gene and disrupt its function, leading to disease or other disorders. Also, a transposable element may insert into a regulatory region of a gene and alter its expression ultimately leading to changes in morphology or physiology.
The transposons can also have positive effects on the host genome. For example, they may provide a source of new genes or regulatory elements that can enhance adaptation to changing environments.
Transposable elements (TEs) are important for several reasons:
While TEs can have both positive and negative effects on the host genome, they are generally considered to be a major driver of genome evolution, contributing to the diversity and complexity of life on Earth.
Understanding their biology and function can provide insights into the complexity of genomes, and have practical applications in biotechnology and medicine.